On January 18, 1873, Richard Watson was appointed Additional Law Judge for the Seventh Judicial District, comprising the counties of Bucks and Montgomery, to succeed Hon. Stokes L. Roberts, who had resigned. At the general election in October of the same year he was elected to the position for the full term of ten years, and the new State Constitution adopted in 1874 making Bucks county a separate judicial district, he became President Judge thereof.
As a judge he acquired the reputation of strict uprightness, and of an earnest painstaking effort always to see exact justice done to all. His written opinions were models of scholarship, and exhaustive in their conclusions. By invitation of his colleagues on the bench of the State, he at different times held court in at least a dozen of the counties, where his administration of justice was highly appreciated. He was universally considered an able judge, and of his decisions that were reviewed by the higher tribunals very few indeed were reversed, and many are still quoted as precedents. His manner on the bench was always courteous yet dignified; merciful and considerate, yet just and firm.
Judge Watson was a candidate for reelection in 1883 as the unanimous choice of his party, but was defeated by the Hon. Harman Yerkes by a strictly party vote. He resumed the practice of law on his retirement from the bench, but chose rather to interest himself in such cases as appealed to his sense of justice. He was one of the chief promoters of the Bucks County Trust Company in 1886, and was chosen its first president, filling that position with eminent ability until his death. Judge Watson always took an active interest in all that pertained to the advantage of his town and county, and his genial, kindly companionship and association in local affairs are a pleasant memory to many of his surviving townsmen. He died suddenly, July 15, 1892.